Governor Edward G. Rendell said Pennsylvania's ports in Erie, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh will be more secure now that the state and private entities that operate them are receiving $8.6 million worth of grants. The grants will be awarded through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's port security grant program.
"A terrorist attack on any part of Pennsylvania's trade infrastructure could result in the loss of a significant number of human lives and would have a dramatic impact on the continued economic health of our nation," said Rendell. "It is imperative that all necessary steps be taken to reduce the risk of such an attack, while recognizing the need to maintain a proficient and secure transportation network."
A grant to the Pennsylvania State Police is the only one awarded to a state agency. Other agencies receiving federal grants include the City of Pittsburgh, Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority and the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority.
The $1.66 million grant to State Police will be used to:
- Implement a Delaware River Virtual Maritime Domain Awareness Center within four months. The center will facilitate the sharing of security information on a 24/7 basis among law-enforcement agencies and the petrochemical facilities and general cargo terminals in the Port of Philadelphia area.
- Purchase a patrol boat for PSP to be used to prevent, detect and respond to any threats to critical infrastructure and key resources in the Port of Philadelphia area.
- Increase the frequency of Civil Air Patrol aerial reconnaissance missions in the Port of Philadelphia area and increase their effectiveness by adding sophisticated sensor equipment to CAP aircraft.
"A terrorist attack on the Port of Philadelphia, with its extensive petrochemical refining capabilities, cargo facilities and military presence, could result in the loss of lives and critical infrastructure," State Police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller said. "This grant will enhance our ability to deal with any potential threat."
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